No matter what marketing tactic you are undertaking for your company, one decision must be made before you begin. The question: Who will be the focus of your marketing message? Your gut instinct may be that all of your marketing should be “Us” focused. You are, after all, promoting your products and services. Depending on what you are doing and what your objectives are, however, the answer may not be so clear-cut. We thought we would break down the three different types of emphasis your messaging can incorporate to weigh the pros and cons.
There are two ways to develop a marketing message that focuses on “us.” The first and perhaps most traditional way is to use promotional language. “We are the best choice.” “We have the widest selection of products.” This kind of tonality is rapidly going out of style. It is viewed as one-way, pushy marketing, too much concentrated on selling and perhaps not focused enough on what might be of the most interest to customers.
The second way to emphasize an “us’ message in your company’s marketing is to present stories about your company that would not emphasize closing the sale. For example, perhaps your website emphasizes the work you do locally on behalf of charity organizations. This offers a positive impression of your company but it is not a direct request that someone purchase from you. Using “us” oriented language can make visitors to your website or recipients of your marketing messages feel like your company is more personable and accessible.
The opposite of focusing on your own company would be an external focus, namely on your customers and prospects. There are several ways your communications can be “you” oriented. Here are a few ways to approach this kind of emphasis:
The obstacles YOU are facing
Focus on issues that you know plague your customers. These issues may be directly tied to what your company can help remedy or in some cases, such as in a white paper or webinar, you may simply offer solutions as a service to your customers.
What YOU have accomplished
Testimonials are win-win tactics for your company and your customers. If one of your customers indicates that your product or service helped them achieve success, your marketing team can promote the success of your customer with a light mention of how you helped them.
How we can help YOU
This is a hybrid between “us” and “you” communications. In this case, most of the focus should be on how your customers could increase effectiveness, efficiency, or sales by using your product or service.
Finally, your marketing communications can emphasize “them.” “Them” could refer to your competitors or your customer’s competitors. If your marketing message is focusing on your competitors, usually your “sell” message will by necessity be more aggressive. Moreover, if your audience feels that your content is too aggressive, it could be a turn-off to them. This kind of communication requires some caution and careful planning so that you do not create a mess where there was none before you started.
In many cases, marketing that is deemed a failure is viewed as such because it emphasized the wrong group at the wrong time. For example, a social media marketing campaign that is overtly “us” oriented will rub people the wrong way. By the same token, a print ad that is too “them” oriented may not go over as well as an ad that is “you” oriented. Careful planning, including setting clear objectives, can help guide your company in determining how each tactic should be approached.
When was the last time you stopped to evaluate the tonality of your marketing messages? Do you focus on any one type of message based on our three categories? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/doug88888/4562078443/ via Creative Commons